Sunday, December 4, 2011

Re-up? Reup, wait. It's Reeup.

Alright, so I don't know how to spell things to begin with and lack some level of phonemic awareness. However this will be second entry about The Wire. The re-up is what happens when the drug dealers get their drugs significantly again in the show. It involves the prefix re, which I think means again and thus works for the title of my entry.

Another friend of mine (that's 3 now that I have) suggested that I shorten the length of my entries and add more pictures. I thought about how terrible my attention span is and realized this makes sense. These blogs could be much more comprehensible if shorter and would require less time out of the busy lives of all you readers. It's a fast paced, fragmented world out there and you gotta break most things up into tiny little pieces to make them accessible. It might mean less work for me too which is perfect as I don't like exerting effort! Brilliant and thank you.. In all seriousness, my friend, G-dog, was right as he always has been and I thank him for his insight.

Back to the Wire, which is also chopped up succinctly and efficiently into small cute scenes in order to incorporate an inordinate level of complexity and plot threads all going on simultaneously, I'd like to further discuss it's sheer brilliance, talk about some of the characters, and talk about what we can all learn and then talk about to our loving spouses at the dinner table.

Check this scene out...

What a brilliant three minutes and forty five seconds. They investigate the crime scene using complex tools and only use variations of the word "fuck". How could a dumb 20 something year old like myself not aspire to be like these two gentleman? Think about that. The Wire can be incredibly funny. The humor bursts out sometimes covertly but often more overtly. The actors always play it cool as they're cooler then you, me and probably Kurt Cobain.

Sometimes the humor is overshadowed by the slang (which you build an understanding for much like you do for that Shakespeare cat), or by the thick Baltimore accent that certain character's have, but its there and it's spectacular. Whether it's Bunk's one night stand towards the end of season one, McNulty's drinking binges, Bubs moves to procure his fix, or just watching Prez awkwardly exist and behave. Check out this scene below from season one (I'm so astounded I can upload video, this will be spectacular and another wonderful tool I can abuse for my own financial gain!!!)

Simon stated during the commentary on the season five disc "No one works harder then a junkie" and then you're blessed with this amazing clip. I was delightfully rewarded when re-watching this scene with my spectacular girlfriend. She likes the show too which is good as otherwise things might not work out. The scene is incredibly funny at first (unless your humorless and cold like a Dementor in the Harry Potter series) but very quickly becomes frightening for both us and Bubs. Bubs not only reacts with fear that he could have been killed, but probably with guilt that his actions caused a feud between the dealers leading towards a brutal exchange.

Much of the Wire is how it depicts much of the brutality that can go on in a city like Baltimore. We see a barrage of violence that whirls through the city, especially when feuds erupt for territory or pride between rival gangs. As the show carries on, you're introduced to an unprecedented amount of chilling violence that our characters are willing to carry out. You see characters lacking any semblance of human care or connection in some of the gangsters paralleled by politicians, lawyers, city contractors all willing to sell out for their own personal gain allowing many of the awful things occurring in the city to continue.

Most of the characters are very complex. Like life, no one's a perfect saint nor are many of the characters that you'd expect to all bad actually that bad. Many of the gangsters are not simply able to be empathized with, many are actually very like-able and good (Slim Charles for example). Simon's view as a police officer was that you had to understand these nuances and spend time working with the people on the street if you were to be effective as a cop. You see how easy it is, starting at a frighteningly young age, for kids and other individuals to be lured into gang life. There are very few options for these characters. Take a look at this scene for example where "the game", or the whole drug enterprise as it's called, that most of the characters are involved in and the major players are nicely summarized by one of very complex protagonists of season one as he teaches his crew how to play chess.

Alright, I can't seem to put this in a blog. This is an utter disaster and how dare this not begin to work. Here is the link and I assure you I will test it out to make sure that this brilliance is available to all you wonderful and sensible individuals.

All the characters have shades of grey, but as the show progresses you start to realize how amazing some of them are. Whether it's because they are termed "good police" or do something spectacular in an otherwise difficult setting, you often are left spellbound when you step back from the scene for a bit. As mentioned in the previous blog the, Wire is meant to educate us and looks at what happens when the various institutions we depend upon have some significant level of dysfunction. Whether it's the testing that dominate and detract from a school's ability to teach to students, the stats and numbers game that pressure the police department to not deal with murders in the first place as they might be unsolvable, or the continual amount of politics that influence and dictates the lives of many of the major characters with power, we are berated and horrified with policies and organizational behaviors that are unfair or illogical and devastating to the health of the city.

The characters that we love are the ones that see the ridiculousness for what it is and risk their careers and sometimes their life to try to do the right thing. We can this in Prez. When continually pressured to teach to the ELA test as math teacher, he has his kids do so only until all other teachers or administrators leave his room and quickly has his math lesson that he making headway with prepared. We can see this in Stringer when he makes his fateful decision in season three (for many possible motives) to go to Colvin in regards to the Gang ware between Avon and Marlo. Colvin likewise demonstrates this courage in his creation and his effort to sustain Hamsterdam unknown to Rawls and Commissioner Burrel. McNulty and Lester are your continual rebels. McNulty reminds you of an older Dennis the Menace in season two as he conducts a swath of various calculations to ensure that Baltimore Police are assigned to investigate the deaths of 13 girls by determining that their place of death fell within city boundaries.

 All of these acts involve risk and conscious effort to actually do the right thing. It is for this reason that this show has become a favorite of mine. It's been of comfort as many of us have entered the workforce as naive 20 somethings or rather and have had to deal with some of the dysfunctional behaviors that are sometimes systemic in places we are employed or involved with. There is way more someone could say and many important things I could add about this show. Let me stop here though as it's getting late. Thanks.

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